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Harry S. Flemming: Politician, Publisher, Businessman

Remembering

Harry S. Flemming, 63, died at his home in Washington, D.C., Nov. 9. Flemming died after a brief period of cancer.

“It was like he wasn’t feeling well, went to the doctor, was diagnosed with cancer and then the cancer just took over his body,” said former Alexandria City Councilman David G. Speck. “We already miss him and are trying to figure out just how we are going to continue the work that he cared so much about.

“Harry was a political friend and a social friend for more than 30 years. Most importantly, he was a poker friend. We played poker with the same group, once a month, for the past 20 years. He is going to be missed,” Speck said.

Flemming was born in Washington, D.C., and lived most of his life in Alexandria. “We lived in Ohio a couple of times but Harry moved to Alexandria and our parents moved here and so did I,” said his brother Tom.

After moving to Alexandria, Flemming gravitated to city politics. In 1967, he was elected to the Alexandria City Council. “That was pretty amazing, really,” Speck said. “Harry was only the second Republican to be elected to City Council here since re-construction.”

As Richard M. Nixon’s campaign for president gained momentum, Flemming signed on and became the liaison between the campaign and the Republican National Committee. He also worked on Nixon’s transition team and, in 1969, joined the White House staff as special assistant for presidential personnel.

AFTER TWO YEARS at the White House, Flemming turned his attention to business. During the 1970s, he was the publisher of both the Alexandria Journal and the Port Packet. “I believe that Harry owned the Port Packet for about 10 years,” his brother said. “He bought it from the original owner and turned it into a real business.”

He ran companies such as Sonitrol and its successor, Advantor Corporation. Most recently, Flemming was involved in Advantor Holding Corporation, a private equity investment firm, located near his Long Boat Key, Fla, residence.

In the past year, Flemming accepted the challenge of chairing the new Capital Development Foundation, a nonprofit that will seek funding for the city’s many capital projects. “We are really regrouping,” Speck said. “Harry was the perfect person to chair the board of the Capital Development Foundation. Committing to be on this Board isn’t just showing up. It means donating $50,000 of your own money and planning to raise much more. Harry was committed to that.”

Alexandria Mayor William D. Euille, spoke of Flemming at last week’s City Council meeting. “Harry Flemming cared deeply about this city and invested money and time here,” Euille said. “He will be missed.”

Flemming is survived by his wife, Nancy, his son, Todd; his daughter, Jan and his grandchildren, Jaime, Sarah and Sam Bosserman.